Written by Arieanna White, Precious Gems Miniature American Shepherds
This is not meant to point fingers but this is a serious concern in all pets. I wanted to bring up the topic of healthy weights for our furry friends.
The best way to describe your dog is by using the Body Condition Scoring chart. This chart has 1-9 options. Others have 1-5. Being overweight is slowly becoming "normal" from the owner's perspective.
Mini Aussies and Mini Americans can vary A LOT in weight because of height, width, and bone so it is NOT based on a simple value. There are also differences between breeds. Aussies generally don't have an extreme tuck like some other breeds. Most of the time, a dog is overweight because they are on a diet that is too high in calories and the dog's body stores the energy just like ours. In some cases, it can be related to a medical issue. If you feel your pet is heavier than they should be, their are some steps you can take:
1. Decrease caloric intake by 10-30%. (Don't free feed.) It can take several months to see a change so be patient. 2. Replace percentage of food with low calorie things like unsalted green beans & carrots. Cut out large treats and use these options (or even portions of their dog food) as training treats. 3. Increase Exercise. Take your dogs on more walks, hikes, bike rides... play frisbee, ball, etc. 4. Do some research to make sure you are feeding a quality food.
If these steps don't help your pooch on their way to a healthier weight, you may need to reduce their caloric intake even further and talk to your veterinarian to rule out medical concerns.
Dogs who are at ideal weight have fewer medical concerns. Most patients I see at the vet clinic I work at are overweight. It makes me so sad and I wish I could educate everybody. Thumbs up for the owners who are already working hard to help their pet lose some weight.